On her show “How Do I Look?” on the Style Network, celebrity stylist and Fashion Guru Jeannie Mai help women look their best through “wearapy”, a psychological and physical process that empowers women to feel great about themselves through what they wear.
“When you put something on,” said Mai, “like a little kid with a Superman cape, once you hit that jump,when or after you take the cape off, you still have it with you.”
Mai and I were speaking via phone last week. I was in New York and the San Jose, California native, who grew up ith 16 individuals in a three bedroom house, was in Los Angeles worrying about what to wear on her trip to rainy and cold New York. I was recounting how I felt when, thanks to a photographer friend who was doing a fashion shoot, I tried on a well tailored Alexander McQueen coat. The feeling of that coat on my body was incredible! I felt powerful and strong, like I became a different person. “It will be a buzz,” said Mai. “Whatever you wear, it will give you the therapy you need.”
This morning Mai hosted a breakfast meet and greet in the R Lounge at the Renaissance Hotel in Times Square as part of the promotion of the 12th season, and Mai’s third, of the hit and Emmy nominated show.
Above: Jeannie Mai at R Lounge at The Renaissance Hotel.
She was dressed in a fitted long sleeved white shirt with a popped collar and black sequined shorts tapered at the knee, and the Vietnamese and Chinese American beauty, who looks to food for her fashion inspiration, was full of energy as she discussed memorable guests who came on her show as well as how she rose from being a celebrity make-up artist to Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera and became one of the most respected fashionista and philanthropist in America.
Nearly two dozen bloggers and journalists, 98 percent of them women, listened attentively as Mai gave advice and told of how she sat for hours waiting for an appointment at the William Morris Agency then meeting comedian Wanda Sykes who helped her set up a meeting with an agent after the two had a discussion about her passions and her terrible headshot in the agency’s waiting room. Before that fateful day, Mai, now a devoted member of Heartbeat Vietnam, a non profit that’s devoted to improving healthcare of impoverished children, had packed her car and moved to LA to pursue her dream of hosting a TV show after realizing that all her passions pointed in the direction of fashio. When she moved, she had less than $200 in her pocket and determination to get signed. After meeting Sykes, her dream was on!
In addition to helping strangers look their best, Mai’s most incredible work takes place off camera. She created a prayer box and placed it in Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles. Hikers trade personal prayers for those left in the box. “Pray it forward,” the box encourages visitors. It has become a popular destination for residents as well as tourists, helping the world become a better place.
“Expect nothing, appreciate everything,” the bright and thankful stylist said, explaining that when you give without expectation, the rewards for yourself are greater. Nuff said. After the break, check out video of Mai trekking to the prayer box.